Recent studies have shown that 25% of persons with AD/HD exhibit symptoms of an anxiety disorder. Anxiety can be a normal “alarm” system of the body, but sometimes anxiety can feel overwhelming, giving clients a sense of dread and fear for no apparent reason. This kind of anxiety can have a client feeling out of control of their lives and interfere with their coaching process. When medical causes of anxiety are ruled out, the following suggestions may be useful to use with clients who are experiencing anxiety.
Controlling worry. Suggest to your client to pick a place and time to do their worrying. Make it the same place and time every day. Suggest spending 30 minutes thinking about concerns and what they can do about them. Encourage clients not to dwell on what “might” happen, but to focus more on what’s really happening.
Suggest learning ways to relax. These may include muscle relaxation, yoga, or deep breathing.
Keep an anxiety journal. Progress with reducing anxiety can often go unnoticed by clients. By keeping a journal, clients can chart their progress. Clients may want to label the level of their anxiety from 0 to 10 and keep track as it goes up and down.
Exercise regularly. People who have anxiety often quit exercising. Exercise can give clients a sense of well-being and help decrease feelings of anxiety.
Emphasize the importance of getting plenty of sleep. During sleep we produce the neuro transmitter serotonin which is known to be responsible for feelings of well being.
Encourage your clients to avoid alcohol and drug use. It may seem that alcohol or drugs relax you, but in the long run they may make anxiety worse and cause more serious problems.
Recommend that clients avoid caffeine. Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, soft drinks and chocolate. Caffeine may increase your clients’ sense of anxiety because it stimulates their nervous system.
Use medicine if it helps. For some clients, prescription medicine may help to reduce their anxiety while they learn new ways to respond to the things that make them anxious. Many types of medicine are available. Their doctor will decide which medicine is right for them.
Encourage your client to talk about their anxiety with you, their coach. As their coach, you can help them make a plan to cope with anxiety. Coaching can help them learn to express their needs and wants so they can feel more in control.
Above all, the most important thing is for clients to take action. Any action they take will help them gain a sense of control and reduce their anxiety.
About the author:
Laurie Dupar, MSN, RN, CPCC, ACC, is an AD/HD Coach and Educator in Granite Bay, CA. You can contact her by phone at (916) 791-1799 or on the web at www.changeoffocus.com